The grand cooking experiment — Am I ready for this?

Delicious! My favorite recipe from Cooking Light, Onion Bread Pudding with a nice Chardonnay
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My first menu since starting this experiment.

My favorite recipe from Cooking Light, Onion Bread Pudding with a Cupcake Chardonnay.

It’s been almost 4 weeks since I began talking about my compulsive overeating feelings via podcast to see if that would help moderate my binge behavior. Until yesterday, I’ve been eating the same two meals each day for breakfast and lunch and using frozen dinners, ala Amy’s Kitchen and Lean Cuisine, for portion control, but also because I didn’t know if I was ready to go back to cooking.

I am a big-time foodie and love to cook — especially with a fine class of wine in my hand. It ranks as one of my top pleasures. Oddly, I don’t usually display compulsive overeating behavior when I’ve taken the time to prepare a delicious, well-cooked meal, but that glass of wine can sure cause havoc with my judgement. Another challenge when tracking calories, is the automatic “pop food in mouth” behavior that occurs while cooking. It is possible to have almost a serving while preparing ingredients. Case in point, Gruyère cheese, It pairs incredibly well with an oak aged Chardonnay and it is incredibly easy to pop slices of that devilish temptation down the hatch while refilling my glass at the counter. That bypasses my conscious mind and adds many calories to my day.

It isn’t quite compulsive eating, as I do savor the flavor, but it is unconscious, mindless eating that doesn’t serve me. It’s a habit. And if I try to stop the “tasting” due to calories, my raging compulsive brain kicks in with an epic temper tantrum, rolling and screaming in my mind, that beats out any two-year old pitching a fit in public.

This is because I HATE DIETING. I hate feeling controlled, even by myself. How dare I hold myself accountable? I fly back in time to my family locking the ice-cream in the freezer so I couldn’t eat it. (Actually I became one hell of a lock-picker, but that’s a story for another day).

Anyway, my tantrum self stands at the ready as I bring out my ingredients and preheat the oven. It yearns for a glass of wine and some of the fresh french bread and cheese. The food memory causes me to salivate and wonder if it’s too soon for cooking. But then I take a deep breath and picture my completed dinner. I can smell the wonderful cheesy, crusty bread, the caramelized onion beckoning from the top of my plate. I imagine my delight at sipping the chardonnay and letting is play over my palette pairing with the earthly, herbaceous notes in my completed and perfectly cooked dish. Heaven.

That dining experience would be way better than the gulps and hurriedly stuffed cheese bites from the counter. I have given up my daily fudge bar to include 4 oz. of wine with dinner. I’ve completed a hike, published a podcast, made my bed and otherwise had a day to be proud of. I deserve to dine tonight. I deserve to eat something I love. I don’t want to go the rest of my life eating Lean Cuisine because I can’t trust myself.

So I pop a hard peppermint candy in my mouth (20 calories that would RUIN the nice chardonnay), finish my dish, pour out 4 oz. of my carefully chosen wine, measured with my shot glass. Sit in front of the TV to watch Game of Thrones and savor every bite, every aroma and every sip of wine. It was really great to cook again.

Comments box:

4 thoughts on “The grand cooking experiment — Am I ready for this?

  1. Cheryl Carter

    (My first thought was, thank God I don’t like to cook!) It sounds like just the whole process of fixing the meal with the bonus bites could be a trigger in an of itself. Even THOUGH you’re logging your food and really taking the time to taste everything. (Are you logging your little bites?) In some way it sounds kind of like my problem with the Sunday Snacks thing. It’s the situation itself that sets me up for failure on Sundays.

    I’d be curious to know if you felt you WERE ready to get back to the cooking thing. How did you handle it all? How would you feel if you cut out either the tasty bites or the glass of wine while cooking? Would it make you spiral out of control?

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      This was scary for me as cooking can be a trigger. But what the hay, cooking is a fulfilling and important part of my life like Sunday fellowship is for you, so I needed to find a way to integrate it into my life. Let’s call it plan “Be”.

      A. is just letting it all go to hell, do what I always do and live with the results.

      “Be”. Let myself feel how I feel and work it into my life goals: wanting to cook and eat with pleasure, being able to live a fit and energetic life, and to make decisions about food instead of letting my puppet-master compulsions run rampant.

      C. Deprive myself of the pleasure of cooking forevermore.

      Plan A takes a daily toll on the rest of my life.
      Plan Be allows me to partake of my pleasure and still meet my life goals.
      Plan C is deprivation and will eventually lead to a binge and return to plan A.

      This time round I poured 1 oz of wine via shot glass of my planned 4 oz. Sipped very slowly through the cheese grating phase and weighed out .25 oz of cheese to pair with the wine while cooking. Once that was done, I popped the 20 cal peppermint in my mouth to suck on. That flavor, while enjoyable on its own, does NOT go with the flavors of this meal, so I wasn’t tempted to eat again until my dinner was done.

      Success! I won’t lie, it took effort, but plan “Be” was doable and enjoyable and I didn’t feel deprived.

      1. Cheryl Carter

        What an awesome idea to suck on the peppermint so the bites of stuff won’t be as appetizing. Where did you learn THAT little gem?

        I wish you would work that whole “plan” thing into a comment on my blog when it’ll fit. I think people would be interested in reading that. I’ve had several people tell me they’re reading the blog but are too shy to comment and be honest. So it might be of help to someone else.

        1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

          Hey GF, I’ll try to fit it in — you might also ask your blog buddies to try listening to episode 12 where I go through Plan BE and mention you! The peppermint trick is an old one from my Weight Watchers days. Except they use sugarless gum. I hate the flavor of all artificial sugar, so I use the real peppermint candies. As long as you suck them down instead of biting, they last a long time. I also use one at night if I am craving while watching TV. While not great to be sucking down pure sugar late at night, for me, it can head off worse. Hugs.


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